10 Sites to Help You Become an Expert in keto net carbs or total carbs

For those that love carbs, you've been taking a beating lately. Don't eat carbs, they make you gain weight say the "experts". Lately, there has been a complete war on carbs and as someone who loves their carbs... it's time to start a war on the "war on carbs"

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Carbs are essential, there's just no getting around it. Whether your goal is to lose weight or increase sport performance, you'll just do yourself a disservice if you abandon our friend the carb. For all high intensity, short duration activities, muscle glycogen is the source of energy and muscle glycogen comes from... carbs. Even endurance activities of moderate intensity use glycogen as 50% of your energy needs. In fact, the one limiting factor on your sport performance will be the lack of availability of carbohydrates. Even during low intensity exercise when your body uses a higher percentage of fat as its fuel source, it takes a good supply of carbohydrates to fuel that process. Ever play a sport or involve yourself in a high intensity workout program and you hit the proverbial "wall"... that's because your body has a lowered supply of glycogen EVEN THOUGH your body has a great supply of fat. Want to perform better... eat your carbs.

What if you want to lose weight; surely you need to decrease your carb intake. After-all, carbs MAKE you fat right? Carbohydrates provide you with variety, necessary nutrients and volume to your diet.

Recommended ranges for carb intake is between 45-65% of your total intake. Weight loss occurs when there is a calorie deficit and not a particular macronutrient profile.

Weight loss occurring on low-carb diets is generally attributed to 2 things... a lower overall calorie intake and loss of body mass. Ever start a diet that restricts your carb intake and seen great results in the beginning weeks? Lower carbs mean lower muscle glycogen stores. For every gram of glucose lost through glycogen you also lose 2.7 grams of water with it. This loss of glycogen combined with water loss is the contributing factor in the initial big losses seen.

Some studies you will read (actually the newspaper headlines you will read... very few read the actual studies) will tell you that we are gaining weight faster than ever even though our fat intake is down. This is partially true. The PERCENTAGE of fat intake in our total diet is down but the actual grams of fat consumed is unchanged all while the total calories consumed in our diets has increased. As well, most studies rely on self-reporting and people generally report eating less than they actually do.

Consider in the 1900's the typical diet had a higher intake of carbohydrates and a lower intake from fat. Even though our dreaded enemy the carb was consumed at a greater rate, we have only seen the rise of weight issues in the past few decades. In short, the increase in the rise of weight gain we see as a society is largely due to increased calorie and decreased activity.

So, here's what is so good about carbs:

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1. They provide nutrients that you can't get from fat or protein

2. Adds bulk to your diet

3. Stabilizes blood sugar levels

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4. An adequate supply of carbs in your diet spares your body from turning to protein as an energy source meaning that protein can do its job.

5. It's the body's preferred energy source

6. Your brain only uses carbs as its energy source

7. You need carbs in order to fuel the process of fat burning

All this doesn't mean run out for a dozen donuts. Select good choices of veggies, fruit, whole grains... eat 'em up... yum!

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created a food pyramid to improve the eating habits and the health of all Americans. The pyramid made carbohydrates the most important food group, suggesting 6 to 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta. As a result, people have reduced their consumption of meat, cheese, and eggs and started loading up on bread, pasta, and rice. But did it make us healthier? The answer is obvious - it did not.

That is why many nutritional experts say that excessive carbohydrates are not as healthy as the USDA would have us believe, or at least that not all carbohydrates are good for you. It is plain to see. More and more people are getting overweight, including even children. It is estimated that by the year 2030, 9 out of 10 people will be obese. On the other hand, high protein low carbohydrate diets showed that you can improve your waistline and reduce your cardiovascular risks simply by reducing the amount of carbohydrates that you eat.

So are carbohydrates good or bad? Both. Some carbohydrates can make you fat and increase the risk of heart disease. Yet other carbohydrates are healthy, they reduce the risk of heart disease, they are a good source of vitamins and minerals, and they help you lose weight. You see, there are different kinds of carbohydrates out there. That is why it is wrong to lump them all together, like the food pyramid does. Some are definitely good for you and others you should stay away from.

It is easy to tell good carbs from bad. Most simple carbohydrates are bad, and most complex carbs are good. All carbohydrates are made from small building blocks. These are called simple sugars. This is a purely chemical name and has nothing to do with how they taste, although some of them happen to be sweet. Three common simple sugars are glucose, fructose, and galactose.

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A single glucose or fructose is called monosaccharide. (Mono means one). A combination of 2 single units is called disaccharide. For example, sucrose is made up of 2 units, glucose and fructose. Sucrose is the white table sugar that you put in your tea or coffee. Glucose plus galactose makes a disaccharide called lactose, the sugar of milk. Glucose is found naturally in some plants and in honey. It is the main carbohydrate in your body. Glucose is used as a source of quick energy. In a way it is like the gasoline on which your body runs. There is always some glucose in the blood, ready to be used by muscles, brain, red cells and other organs. There is also some stored in the liver and the muscles just in case you run out of glucose in the blood. This stored form of glucose is called glycogen. When we talk about blood sugar, we mean blood glucose. You can find fructose in honey and most fruits. It is the substance that gives honey its characteristic taste.

Mono- and disaccharides are examples of simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates, such as starch, fiber, or glycogen are made from thousands of basic units linked together. Unlike proteins, where twenty amino acids are combined in thousands of different ways, complex carbohydrates usually contain the same unit repeated hundreds of thousands of times. This unit is usually glucose, the same sugar you have in your blood. For example, starch, fiber, and glycogen are all made from glucose. In fact, most vegetables and fruits are made from glucose. Bread, broccoli, and bananas are all made from millions of glucose units that are put together in a certain way.

Simple carbohydrates and starches can be unhealthy, especially in large amounts, while most complex carbohydrates (except for starch) are good for you. This is because bad carbs quickly raise your blood glucose, while the good carbs do not.

As I mentioned earlier, glucose is important because the cells of your body can use it when they need to produce energy quickly. But if you have too much sugar in the blood, your body will try to get rid of it and bring the level back to normal. It does that by using a hormone called insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and is released directly into your blood. The more sugar you have, the more insulin you need to bring it down. Insulin drives glucose into muscles and other tissues, where it is burned or turned into keto net carbs or total carbs glycogen. If the muscles cannot take any more glucose, insulin turns what is left into fat or triglycerides.

Most people already have enough fat, so they really don't need any more. This fat makes us look bad and increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and strokes. If your blood test shows a high level of triglycerides it is usually because you eat too many carbs that turn into sugar. High insulin level causes inflammation inside the arteries, which can lead to hardening of the arteries and, eventually, heart disease.

Another way to differentiate good carbs from bad is by using Glycemic Index, which I describe in a separate article How Glycemic Index Can Make You Healthy.